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Nearly half of people in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, latest poll finds

One in five people, meanwhile, have said that they are not sure how they’re going to vote.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

JUST UNDER HALF of people say they’ll vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment in the upcoming referendum, but one in five people are unsure about how they’ll vote.

While the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll points to a clear majority for repealing the Eighth, the number of those in favour have repeal have dropped by nine points since January.

The full results show 47% in favour of repeal, 28% not in favour of repeal, 20% not sure how’ll they vote, and a further 4% either not willing to respond or refusing to.

While support for a repeal has dropped, this has not translated to an increase in support for a no vote in the 25 May referendum, which has dropped by one point. Those who are unsure has risen 5% since January.

Previous polls have pointed to a broadly similar support for the no side. One for Red C/The Sunday Business Post at the end of March showed 56% in favour of changing the Constitution and 26% against, with the remainder either not answering or undecided. A Behaviour & Attitudes poll for The Sunday Times on 18 March found 49% of voters in favour of repeal, with 27% against.

When those who are undecided are excluded, this means that 63% will vote yes, while 37% will vote no.

A vote for repeal was highest in urban areas among the 18-24 age-group, while a no vote was highest in rural areas and among the 65+ age group, the poll found.

A majority of people (52%) said that would not change their mind no matter what they hear or see, with only 20% open to changing their mind.

A number of questions were also asked about a person’s attitude to abortion, and the 12-week proposal from government that would see unrestricted access to abortion up to that period.

To the question “I have reservations about providing abortion on request up to 12 weeks but also feel it is a reasonable compromise and will improve the current situation”, 56% said they agree while 30% disagreed with the statement.

When asked if “the law in Ireland needs to be changed to recognise a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion”, 62% of people agreed while 25% disagreed.

However, to the question “I agree the law needs to be changed but I think the proposal for abortion on request up to 12 weeks goes too far”, 41% agreed while 41% disagreed.

Reaction

In a statement on the opinion poll, Save the 8th spokesperson Niamh Ui Bhriain claimed that the “Irish people do not want abortion on demand”, and said that the poll confirms the idea that the “more people get to know about the consequences of a yes vote, the less likely they are to vote yes”.

She added that the pro-life side is now “increasingly confident” that the Eighth will be retained in next month’s referendum.

Also reacting to the poll, Together for Yes said it was “positive to see the majority of the Irish public believes the Eighth Amendment harms women and will vote for change”.

In a statement, the group added: “[We] will continue to work hard to explain why we believe a yes vote is the only way to ensure that women in crisis situations get the support they need.”

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Sean Murray

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